Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research
Project Number: 2040-22430-027-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated
Start Date: Oct 15, 2020
End Date: Oct 14, 2025
Objective 1: Enhance or develop new technologies for the biological control of tephritids and other tropical pests by developing new methods for testing for host specificity, improved mass rearing techniques, enhanced understanding of the fundamental biology of parasitism and insect pathology, and the integration of biological control agent ecology into management techniques. Sub-objective 1A: Investigate cues driving host specificity in braconid parasitoids of fruit flies in order to improve the safety and acceptability of biological control programs using these wasps. Sub-objective 1B: Explore the genomic basis for host preference and the role of associated viruses in host suitability of tephritid parasitoids. Objective 2: Develop new methods for invasive pest control including reduced-risk insecticides, new practices for insecticide resistance management, and new components and programs for IPM for tephritids and other tropical plant pests of quarantine significance for Hawaii and the U.S. mainland to promote the unimpeded movement of fruit and vegetable exports. Sub-objective 2A: Investigate the molecular, physiological, or behavioral basis of evolving resistance to chemical and biological control of tephritids and other tropical pests. Sub-objective 2B: Validate the effectiveness of coffee berry borer pest control techniques in the context of a comprehensive IPM system to enable economically viable control. Sub-objective 2C: Develop baseline biological assessments, survey, monitoring, and control tools based on behavioral interventions and other methods for established and emerging insect pests of tropical agriculture (e.g. the Queensland longhorn beetle, Acalolepta aesthetica and the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata).
Hypothesis 1A: Visual cues, particularly color and shape, are drivers of host specificity in parasitoids used in classical and augmentative biological control programs against tephritid pests (Psyttalia, Fopius, and Dichasmomorpha). Hypothesis 1B: Across braconid parasitoid species which parasitize tephritids, novel mechanisms for overcoming hosts defenses have developed, which play a role in a species host specificity and host range. Research Goal 2A: Determine the extent to which wild melon fly have become resistant to insecticides and devise strategies for insecticide rotation and resistance monitoring. Prescribe a standardized test for resistance for use by collaborators at other research centers in geographic locations where flies are established. Research Goal 2B: To determine the optimal combination of control measures for CBB management in Hawaii, add new techniques, and deliver a "smart agriculture" app. Research Goal 2C: Develop trapping systems and genetic assays for new invasive species that attack tropical crops and commodities.